Galef Applauds First Passage of Constitutional Amendment for Independent Redistricting

Legislation would prevent gerrymandering and create fair elections
March 15, 2012

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef commends the New York State Legislature for passing a constitutional amendment to create an independent redistricting commission beginning after the 2020 United States Census. This first passage will help move the state away from the current partisan process. This bill must then pass in the next legislative session, in 2013-14, before the bill is brought for a statewide vote to amend the State Constitution.

Galef has long advocated for similar legislation to take the redistricting process out of the legislature’s hands. She has continuously introduced legislation in the Assembly since 1997 (currently A5271/S3331) in which an independent redistricting commission would be authorized to determine state and congressional legislative lines. In a January 2009 Questionnaire, 75% of Galef’s constituents who responded to the survey favored an independent redistricting commission.

“An Independent Redistricting Commission would remove political factors from being considered when legislative lines are redrawn every ten years. This is a necessary reform which would benefit all New Yorkers in creating fairer districts that do not favor one political party or a particular person,” Assemblywoman Galef said. “While it may be too late for this independent commission to be established for the 2012 elections, we must ensure that it will be automatically created in the future.”

Galef firmly believes redistricting reform is necessary for fairness of New York State Elections, as independent redistricting removes the issue of partisan influence in how the lines are drawn. A Quinnipiac Poll from December 2011 showed that a majority of New Yorkers also support an independent panel.

“Members of the legislature have historically created their own lines, and while this change may be difficult for some legislators, it is a necessary step to create a more fair and neutral process in which lines are determined in a less partisan fashion,” Galef concluded.